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How the War Against Child Abuse Material Was Lost

The battle to purge child abuse images from the Internet has been lost. That doesn't mean that we can't or shouldn't continue to work towards the elimination of image-based abuse. But it is widely acknowledged by law enforcement, reporting hotlines, and prevention groups alike that this can't be achieved merely by censoring images from the Internet and by criminalizing those who access or share them – which are the only strategies that society has focused on until now. more

Trump Wants to Change the Communications Decency Act

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), says that "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." The law was passed in 1996 in order to shield ISPs that transported content or platforms that hosted it from lability. Bloggers were not responsible for comments on their posts, YouTube and Facebook were not responsible for things users posted, etc. more

Freedom of Expression Part 3: Child Pornography, Manga, Anime, Obscene Publication

At the 44th Session of the Human Rights Council, we heard how 1 billion children in 2019 who were subjected to various forms of violence and the need for more action to protect children according to the Special Rapporteur. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child released Guidelines on the implementation of the international treaty that bans child pornography, proposing to expand its interpretation to include bans on drawings and stories that sexually depict minors. more

Freedom of Expression Part 2: Blocking, Filtering and Removing Online Content

The Internet is a catalyst for what has revolutionised and transformed human societies in giving extraordinary access to information that has catapulted development and economic growth. It also comes with threats of exploitation by those who wish to do harm. In Part 1 of these series, we looked at how Twitter banned Graham Linehan for his tweet where we saw that to an extent, it was justifiable under Californian law but that a Judge in the Fiji courts would disagree with. more

Freedom of Expression Part 1: Hate Speech, Linehan, Trans as a Protected Class in California

Graham Linehan was banned from Twitter last week. Graham Linehan is an Irish writer and creator of Father Ted and Black Books. Twitter closed Graham Linehan's account for tweeting "men aren't women though" which twitter perceived as "hate speech" and offensive to the Trans community. Context always shapes meaning, and so I thought it would be useful to explore how hate speech is interpreted in California and then to see how it is treated in Fiji. more

Surveillance Capitalist in Chief

Surveillance capitalism monetizes private data that it collects without consent of the individuals concerned, data to analyze and sell to advertisers and opinion-makers. There was always an intricate relationship between governments and surveillance capitalists. Governments have the duty to protect their citizens from the excesses of surveillance capitalism. On the other hand, governments use that data, and surveillance capitalism's services and techniques. more

ICANN and Attorneys General: Ends, Means and Unintended Ends

In a move, unprecedented in scale, ISOC moved to sell PIR, the registry for .ORG, to a for-profit entity which intends, in turn, to convert PIR into a for-profit entity itself. This move has, understandably, raised concerns from around the Internet community and cast a bright light on ICANN, the nature of its contracts with Registries and the responsibilities of the ICANN Board... As the Vice Chair for Policy of the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), I've tried to navigate a consensus involving ALL of those parties because of our diverse membership. more

Dear U.S.A. – Observations on the Cyber Solarium Commission Report

I am writing to you as someone who is not your citizen, (although I had the fortune to wed the most beautiful of your daughters), to share my thoughts about the recent US Government Cyber Solarium Commission report. U.S.A. We owe you one! Without you and your citizens there would be no free Internet as we know it. Thank You! Your constitution is our inspiration. We, the global digital citizenship want to be "the people", in order to "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..." more

It's Time to Curtail the Censorship Industry Cartel

Last month INHOPE, a global trade association of child abuse reporting hotlines, rejected a joint call from Prostasia Foundation, the National Coalition Against Censorship, Article 19, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, that its members should stop treating cartoons as if they were images of child sexual abuse. As our joint letter pointed out, INHOPE's conflation of offensive artwork with actual abuse images has resulted in the misdirection of police resources against artists and fans... more

Internet Reporting Hotlines Are Censoring Art as Child Sexual Abuse

This week United States Attorney-General William Barr cited the need to address child exploitation as one of the factors motivating a mooted review of law called CDA 230, which provides that Internet companies aren't responsible for what their users say or do online. There are many dimensions to the problem of child exploitation, ranging from inappropriate comments on Instagram photos to child grooming on Fortnite... more

Internet Governance and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Part 1: Foundations

One could think that the authors of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) -- adopted in 1948 -- had the Internet in mind when they declared in Article 19: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." All human beings are entitled to certain rights, and it makes no difference if they choose to exercise them in a town square or an Internet chatroom. more

Encryption and Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

Just over one week ago, the New York Times published a major investigation into the intractable problem of illegal sexual images of minors being exchanged online. Despite flaws in the story and its companion pieces, the main take-away that Internet companies have failed to adequately address the problem has resonated widely. Prostasia Foundation too has been critical of some of the Internet platforms called out in the article. But at the same time, we need to be realistic about how much responsibility we can (or should) place on tech firms to solve this problem. more

A Closer Look at the "Sovereign Runet" Law

In December 2018, a bill on the "stable operation" of the Russian segment of the Internet was introduced and got the title "Sovereign Runet" in mass media and among the public. It was adopted after 5 months later, despite doubts about the technical feasibility of its implementation. The law is very ambitious in its intent to simultaneously control Internet traffic and protect Runet from some external threats, but legislators still have no idea how it would actually work. more

A Case for Regulating Social Media Platforms

There are some who see the regulation of social media platforms as an attack on the open internet and free speech and argue that the way to protect that is to let those platforms continue to self-regulate. While it is true that the open internet is the product of the same freedom to innovate that the platforms have sprung from, it is equally the product of the cooperative, multi-stakeholder organisations where common policy and norms are agreed. more

Cuba Censors SMS Messages … for Now

What could the Cuban government do with Russia-style access to Facebook data? What sorts of fake news could they create and circulate on YouTube and Pinterest? What can be done to control the dark side of the Cuban Internet? Cuba is about to hold a referendum on a proposed constitution that the government supports and Eduardo Sanchez posted a test showing that SMS messages with anti-referendum terms. more

News Briefs

CENTR Has Released an Animated Video on ccTLDs and Their Technical Role Concerning Content

Russia Says It Has Successfully Tested a Country-Wide Alternative to the Global Internet

Iran Almost Completely Shuts Off Internet Access Across the Country Amid Protests Over Fuel Prices

China to Require Face Scan for Internet Access and New Phone Numbers Starting December

URS Is a Bad Fit for .ORG, Says EFF

Other Countries Beginning to Adopt China's Unique Approach to an Isolated Internet Structure

Domestic Internet of Russia, Iran Far Deeper Kind of Fragmentation, More Physical Than Seen Before

Vladimir Putin Signs 'Sovereign Internet' Law to Further Tighten Government Control of the Internet

Indian Government Proposes Vast New Powers to Suppress Internet Content

Internet Will Split Into Chinese-Led and US-Led Versions Within the Next Decade, Says Eric Schmidt

"Seven Dirty Words" Restriction Policy Lifted from .US Domain Name Registrations

EU Authorities to Give Internet Companies 1 Hour to Take Down Extremist Content or Face Hefty Fines

Protests in Iraq Lead to a Two-Day Internet Shutdown by the Government

Russia Wipes Out Over 17 Million IP Addresses In Efforts to Block Telegram

Google Ends Domain-Fronting Feature Used by Censorship Tools

EFF Warns ICANN Not to Engage in Censorship, Says It Should Stick to Technical Role

Civil Society Groups Call for Deletion of Internet Filtering Provision in EU Copyright Proposal

China Blocks WhatsApp, Says Messaging Service Should Stop Spread of "Illegal Information"

EU Presidency Pushing Other Member States for Substantial Internet Surveillance

China Continues VPN Crackdown, Targets Alibaba and Other Ecommerce Sites

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